Wall Street Welcomes Tintri with a Lukewarm Reception

Jun 30, 2017

Tintri’s public market debut got off to a rocky start.

The enterprise storage startup originally planned to go public Thursday and intended to raise about $100 million with its shares priced between $10.50 to $12.50.

However, Tintri chose to postpone its IPO until Friday, and dropped the price of its shares to $7. The company ended up raising about $60 million through its IPO and its shares are up 3% in after-hours trading to $7.21.

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The fact that Tintri lowered its share price just before going public probably did not instill much confidence in Wall Street investors looking at their next big bet. But co-founder and CTO Kieran Harty is doing his best to remain optimistic.

“We are focused on the long term and not on what the price of shares are on a particular day,” Harty said.

Without naming any particular company, Harty explained that recent public market performances of companies in the enterprise infrastructure space have created the perception that overall market for data storage, servers, and related data center technology space is unsteady.

“We are effectively influenced by the behaviors of other companies in the enterprise infrastructure space that have not performed very well and overset expectations,” he said. “It is kind of like being in a good house in a bad neighborhood.”

Some recent enterprise infrastructure companies that have recently gone public include data center hardware makers Nutanix (ntnx), Pure Storage (pstg), and data analytics specialist Cloudera (cldr). All three of these companies are currently trading at lower share prices than when they first debuted on the public market.

Like several other startups that went public, including meal delivery startup Blue Apron, Tintri’s once private valuation is drastically higher than its now current value as a public company.

Tintri brought in roughly $125 million at a valuation of $800 million during its last funding round in 2015, according to investment tracking firm PitchBook. Today after going public, Tintri is valued at around $230 million, PitchBook estimates.

Harty said of the discrepancy between Tintri’s public and private valuations that when it last raised funding, “the companies that went public were hitting their numbers and the multiples were higher.” With the overall market going down, so to has Tintri’s valuation, he said.

Still, the company had to go public at this time, Harty said, because it needed market validation to convince other public companies to do business with it. Public companies can get concerned about doing business with startups because of uncertain futures. Going public helps alleviate some of those apprehensions, Harty said.

But just because a company goes public doesn’t mean success is guaranteed. Consider the once high-flying startup Violin Memory, which sells data storage hardware like Tintri. Violin Memory went public in 2013, but filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Dec. 2016, after struggling for years. Private investment fund Quantum Partners bought Violin Memory in April.

Tinti plans to stay competitive by focusing on data management software that provides a common ground between a company’s internal data centers and those of cloud computing providers like Amazon (amzn) and Microsoft (msft), Harty explained. It’s a tough market where larger players like NetApp (ntap), Dell (dell), and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (hpe) all compete.

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Harty, however, is hoping Tinti’s IPO gives the company a boost to help it compete—and eventually convince Wall Street it can be a winner as a business technology provider.

“We look forward to actually showing how are doing over time,” said Harty.

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